Movie Review: Hard Kill23rd December 2020
Two years from now, you’ll be able to see Hard Kill on a channel similar to Film4 or Sony Pictures Classics. A channel that plays films for the retired or bedbound, films that should, quite simply, not be witnessed by anyone with access to quality elsewhere. To watch nothing would be a better choice than to watch this latest Bruce Willis action nightmare. The regret in his eyes lingering as the tears form. It’s not good acting, though, it’s fear. A genuine, unrepressed look of true, agonizing fear and a loathing hatred for the audiences that are staring deep into his soul. Beautiful, the man is reaping what he sowed some years prior, with Precious Cargo and Survive the Night.
A braver person than I is needed to deep dive Willis’ recent offerings, but I’ve seen enough to know that quality is slim and quantity is vast. Fifteen action flicks in the past five years alone, and that doesn’t even consider Split, Glass, or any of what we shall call his “proper” projects. His cardigan-clad role sees him vomit up cliché lines and a heroic, mediocre backstory of retiring from the gun-toting madness due to family life. His role could be filled by anyone, stick a bucket with a smiley face painted on it with a tape recorder sellotaped to the front and you’d have a supporting role that finds himself gelling better with this cast of desperate up-and-comers. Maybe the bucket would crack a smile too, or some semblance of emotion. It’s jarring to see Willis on autopilot, especially when you inevitably compare this to his glory days.
To call Hard Kill a movie is to bend the rules a bit. Yes, there are moving pictures placed together in a coherent enough manner, but surely more should be required. A film where the script is packaged up and sent off without any input from anyone outside a boardroom, filler scenes of absolute nonsense pave the way in this relatively tame, horribly slow action. Little action is presented, and instead the film targets the message of its story, or tries to at least. Inconsequential at the best of times, Hard Kill and director Matt Eskandari mismanage the time given to them. A tight eighty-minute feature drawn out to well past the hundred-minute mark. For a film with only two different talking points, that’s a dangerous game to play.
I doubt it’s a coincidence that Willis and director Matt Eskandari mark their third collaboration together with Hard Kill. Truly a fascinating experience, but not a good one. Somewhere down the line, people will look back on these films and wonder who they were made for. I wish I knew the answer. As far as I can tell this latest action-packed snooze fest from Willis and company is an ineffective dud. Aggressively annoying in how safe it plays its story, and underwhelming considering the somewhat recognisable faces that line the story. Hard Kill is best avoided, but no doubt this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Willis waging war against his audiences.